menu

Mediating Cityscapes Through Totem Branding

Mediating Cityscapes Through Totem Branding
Advertising

A focus on service avatars and physical materiality allows us to rethink consumers' distributed connections to services and place.

Stephen Fortune
  • 2 march 2011

BERG wonders whether a simple object can mediate the complex set of relations that constitute our experience of the contemporary networked city. As ubiquitous computing increasingly encroaches upon us, the “city as computer” metaphor is gaining ever more currency.

Extending that metaphor, one can see the London Bicycle Scheme as hardware that is very specific to the locale of London City. Tom Armitage notes that the key one uses to unlock the bicycles provides an interface to the system and service, an interface which is useless when divorced from it’s locale. In that way the fob can be considered a service avatar

“…because these things are now connected, their value moves from the device to the service it represents, and the actual objects become secondary. They become what I call service avatars.”

But the key also encapsulates the system and references all the other systems it overlaps and intersects with throughout the urban scape of London. And thus, it is worth bearing in mind that the human ability to forge connections and associations between places operates via different sensibilities and registers than the means and protocols by which our cities will become increasingly networked in the near future.

“In San Francisco, it was a tangible reminder that London is still there, even though the key had no functionality in this particular city. Returned to London, the plastic key regains its powers, and returns to its normal behaviours: unlocking bicycles, capturing my usage of those bikes in its system. On my keyring, everywhere I go, I carry a piece of London.”

Read the entire piece at Berg: “Totems And City Avatars”

Advertising
Trending

Editorial Roundtable: What A People-First Workplace Must Prioritize First

Work
Syndicated Yesterday

What Could The Highway Of The Future Look Like?

As technology for automated vehicles improves, there’s a sharper focus on building a ‘smarter’ infrastructure where they can thrive

Design Yesterday

Plastic Wind Trees Are Bringing Sustainable Power To Residential Homes

These French-made turbines are offering a small, aesthetically pleasing approach to affordable personal energy

Trending

Get PSFK's Latest Report: Future of Retail: Technology Primer

See All
Home Yesterday

Dyson’s Wi-Fi Connected Fan Purifies, Cools & Heats The Air

The new luxury home appliance aims to be an all-in-one device for the connected home

Education Yesterday

Bringing Virtual Reality And Telepresence Robotics To E-Learning

This Learning Management System is embracing new technologies to reallocate teaching resources to where they should be going

PURPLELIST EXPERTS

Travis Kalanick

On-Demand, Mobile, Transportation

Advertising Yesterday

Brewing Company Turns Car Emissions Into Ink

Tiger Beer has created a sustainable process to transform air pollution into supplies for street art

Design Yesterday

Space-Saving Sofa Has Extra Furniture Hidden Inside

Living in an apartment with limited space? This three-in-one bed transforms based on your needs

Culture Yesterday

Browser Extension Blocks Any Pages That Make You Unhappy

The software can detect your facial movements and prevent content that brings up negative emotions

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed august 25, 2016

Retail Expert: What Sustainability Means To The Millennial Generation

Jo Godden, Founder of RubyMoon, discusses how brands can limit their environmental impact worldwide

PSFK Labs august 25, 2016

PSFK’s Workplace Vision: How The Nurturing Of Seeds Will Come To Define The Onboarding Process

Our Future of Work vision is a service that allows companies to assemble and deliver welcome packets that are uniquely focused on the concept of growth

Automotive Yesterday

Reserve Your Parking Spot Before You Even Get Behind The Wheel

A new Ford app allows drivers to select and arrange for a space in a garage to be available at the end of their journey, so they can travel worry-free

Work Yesterday

PSFK’s Workplace Vision: The Desk Is Becoming An Ecosystem Of Satellite Workstations

Our Future of Work vision is an app that frees employees from the tyranny of a static desk

Food Yesterday

A Tiny Amount Of This Powder Could Block All The Bitterness In Food

A new substance made from mushrooms can bond with taste receptors on your tongue to overcome unpleasant flavors

Asia Yesterday

Whimsical Dental Clinic Design Aims To Calm Patient Fears

Cheerful colors and a nod to the comforts of home are design elements tactfully aimed to help people relax

Mobile Yesterday

Messenger Service Only Delivers You Updates Three Times A Day

Formal is a new app designed to help people ignore the constant stream of texts from their phone and focus on what's in front of them

INSIGHTS COVERAGE

Rio Olympics
Innovation Coverage From The Rio Games
READ NOW

Design Yesterday

Movable Vacation House Constructed Using Concrete Boxes

The 4,000 square foot building is made up of modular frames so it can be relocated if needed due to coastline erosion

Design Yesterday

Redesigned Electric Fan Collapses For Easy Storage

Conbox can be kept in pieces and packed away when not in use

Ai Yesterday

LawyerBot Is Now Helping Homeless People Qualify For Government Housing

This robot helps people get out of parking tickets and provides free legal advice to those in need

No search results found.